A bit of an experimental piece, so if the prose seems a little off, that's probably why. Also, I'm sure that the whole Master and his drums idea has already been done to hell and back, but oh well.

Timeline of this is roughly somewhere near the early part of The End of Time, part 1. There are no spoilers.

Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC, and unfortunately John Simm is not mine either.

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

Drum beats, loud and booming, echoing against his skull. The same maddening beat over and over and over and over.

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three four. One, two, three, four – beating in harmony with his hearts.

They have already driven him well past insanity, they did that long ago. The drums have become part of him now, wired into his nerves and veins – wired into his very being. Even though he wishes desperately for them to stop, they have become as vital to him as the beat of his hearts. He can barely remember now a time before the drums, before he looked into the Untempered Schism, when he was normal. Just a boy of eight. Just a child.

He tries to remember, but he can't.

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

The drums have been with him for what seems like an eternity. They have been with him to death and back and he wonders, not for the first time, what he would be without this noise. He thinks he would simply stop existing right here and now if they were to just suddenly stop. The constant beating, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, replaced with blessed, blissful silence.

He thinks both of his hearts would stop.

No, he thinks. The drums can't stop, and he knows that they won't. Not until he dies again for the final time.

They are more than just a mere part of him, they are him. Each one of those infuriating beats form the core of his very being, beating in perfect sync with his hearts – one, two, three, four. One two, three, four – and in turn, the universe. They are the fibre of his existence.

It is these drums that make the Master.